Taking a close look at Arsenal’s squad registration and Short Term Cost Control situation before the summer spending begins.
The transfer window has opened, and before every silly season I, and hopefully the club, go through the logistics of the squad and how much the club can actually spend on recruitments before it shuts on August 9th.
There haven’t been any deals yet from Arsenal this transfer window. Although, as usual, many have been reported close to signing for the club. The only changes have been in the staff at the Emirates.
Wenger and two handfuls of staff have so far only been replaced by the new head coach, Emery. The Spaniard’s own staff has yet to arrive: Perhaps the reason Arsenal haven’t finalised any player signings yet.
A massive overhaul of the staff is imminent, there has been significant changes to the squad in the last year and the potential for further changes in the squad is there too, in Emery’s first summer at Arsenal. But how?
The Premier League Handbook states that each team has to register a squad of 25 players, including eight who are Home Grown Players. Any Home Grown Player listed in the U21 side is eligible to play without being registered to the 25-man squad.
According to the Premier League, a Home Grown Player is “a player who, irrespective of nationality or age, has been registered with any club affiliated to The Football Association or the Football Association of Wales for a period, continuous or not, of three entire seasons, or 36 months, before his 21st birthday (or the end of the season during which he turns 21).”
Arsenal listed nine HGPs this season, including Walcott and Coquelin who have since left the club and Wilshere who seems increasingly likely to leave the Emirates this summer.
Are Arsenal in a logistical predicament? No.
Considering the current squad, Santi leaving, Mertesacker’s retirement and excluding all players on loan (all but Lucas are unlikely to be part of the next season), Arsenal are left with a team of 21 players and eight HGPs. The HGPs are Bellerin, Holding, Chambers, Ramsey, Maitland-Niles, Iwobi, Welbeck and Wilshere.
Arsenal will only have to promote prospects to the senior squad or recruit HGPs from other teams if a couple or more of the current HGPs leave the club.
If Wilshere leaves and Iwobi goes out on loan for example, Arsenal would have six vacant spots in the 25-man squad of which they would have to add two HGPs. A solution could be to simply add Nelson and Willock, leaving four open slots for foreign additions.
The STCC (Short Term Cost Control)
This is where it gets complicated. But it reveals that Arsenal are in a better financial position than people might think, and how much Arsenal can spend on wages this summer.
The STCC was set up by the Premier League to control the recent exponential increase in broadcasting money in the league. It puts parameters around the influx of clubs’ wage bills. In Arsenal’s case, and just about every other Premier League side, this means that they cannot add more than £7m to their overall wage from last season.
Before I begin this equation, I must declare that these figures are reported numbers. They are not confirmed by me or the club. I have, however, cross-referenced most of the figures.
The Gunners’ 16/17 wage bill was reported at £199m. However, since then, Arsenal have made several player changes. Most notably Alexis, Ox-Chamberlain and Walcott leaving the club and Aubameyang, Lacazette and Mkhitaryan joining. And Özil signed a new £350,000 contract this season.
In my estimation, Aubameyang’s salary is covered by the relief of Alexis and Gibbs’ salaries. The sales of Ox-Chamberlain and Coquelin covers Lacazette. Kolasinac’s salary is substituted with Debuchy and Gabriel’s salaries. And Mlhitaryan’s salary is covered by Giroud and half of Mertesacker’s salary.
Santi’s prompted departure, Walcott’s wage and the remaining half of Mertesacker’s salary actually results in a wage surplus for the Gunners ahead of the summer transfer window.
Summarising last season’s transfers and the impact they had on the wage bill, I concluded that Arsenal’s current wage bill is approximately £192.5m. That is a decrease of £6.5m.
This means that Arsenal can spend the additional £6.5m plus the £7m increase allowed from season to season, equaling an impressive £13.5m, on player wages this summer.
Staff wages have been excluded, because of lack of data and being substantially less impactful, although I suspect it won’t have a negative effect on their finances.
The transfer budget has been speculated at £50m and recently £70m. But this will be financed through amortisation (paying annual sums for a player divided by how many years his contract stretches), meaning the number is much higher.
Combined with a healthy wage budget with room for an additional £13.5m, the capable trio of Emery, Mislintat and Sanllehi is in a ripe position to make big moves this summer.